Also known as: arteriosclerosis, arteriosclerotic vascular disease, ASVD.
What is atherosclerosis?
The process starts in childhood which over time narrows the arteries that contribute to a number of heart and circulatory problems usually later in life. It is unusual for children/adolescents to have the complications associated with significant atherosclerosis (heart attack and stroke).
What causes atherosclerosis?
Risk factors for atherosclerosis include a family history of heart attack or stroke, obesity (and the metabolic syndrome), depression/bipolar disorders, smoking (and/or exposure to cigarette smoke), high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a number of medical problems like diabetes, chronic kidney disease and many others.
What are the symptoms of atherosclerosis?
At first, atherosclerosis might not cause any symptoms. Over time, it can contribute to the development of blood clots, chest pain, coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke and a variety of other circulatory problems.
What are atherosclerosis care options?
Treatment approaches include lifestyle choices, decreasing risk factors where possible and medications. In severe instances, catheters can be used along with a balloon to enlarge the artery (angioplasty) and stents can be placed in them. Bypass surgery, where a blood vessel is surgically inserted to go around the blocked portion, is also a potential treatment.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 11:18:58 AM
From the Newsdesk
Naialee Perez had just given birth to her first child, a baby boy named Liam, when a category five hurricane was making its way towards her hometown in the island of Puerto Rico. Liam was on a ventilator and undergoing treatment for a congenital heart defect in Hospital del Niño in San Juan while those on the island prepared for what would become one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in its history.
While he was still inside his mother’s womb, Luife was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect. Shortly after birth, Luife was taken by ambulance to the cardiac team at Nicklaus Children’s. The pediatric cardiology team took Luife’s heart apart, piece by delicate piece, and successfully, put it back together. Today, Luife is a healthy, active and outgoing 8-year-old boy who wears his “Scar of Honor” with pride.